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Apologies from Mr Seel (Colonial Office), Sir John Chute and Sir William Halcrow for their inability to attend the meeting. Welcome to Mr D.V. Serrurier (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa).
Matters arising from the Minutes of the 299th Commission meeting, including reference to the Treaty of the 17th October 1947, between the United Kingdom and the Provisional Government of Burma, which contained a special provision by which the Burmese Government agreed to conclude a full War Graves Agreement at a later date, and recognising that the CWGC as the sole authority in Burma responsible for war graves.
Death of the Rt. Hon. Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, K.G.
Notice of the death of the Rt. Hon. Earl Baldwin of Bewdley K.G. (formerly High Commissioner for South Africa) and reading of a letter received from his son regarding the Commission’s expression of sympathy.
High Commissioner for South Africa
Appointment of Mr Leif Egeland, High Commissioner for South Africa, from 1 January 1948;
New Year Greetings
Reference to Christmas and New Year Greetings received from High Commissioners, including one received from Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola, High Commissioner for Pakistan.
New Year’s Honours
Award of O.B.E. to Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Murphy, Chief Administrative Officer, United Kingdom District, as well as the award of the B.E.M. to H.H. Auker, Gardener-Caretaker, and a knighthood to Colonel Eric Gore-Browne, one of the Commission’s Endowment Fund trustees.
Note and clarification on the constructional progress of the Commission’s work as referenced in the 296th Commission meeting.
Southern European District
Reference to report from Southern European District regarding successful germination of grass sewn in cemeteries, particularly Rome, Florence Military Cemetery, Caserta, and Foiana Della Chiana. Note on the tour of inspection of the Northern Area of this district by Brigadier S. Collingwood with the Area Superintendent in November 1947 with comments about the improvement in the condition of the maintenance of the 1914-1918 cemeteries which had now returned to pre-war level, having deteriorated during the Second World War.
Items of interest
Reference by the Vice-Chairman that several ceremonies had taken place since the last Meeting, with a list of cemeteries circulated for the information of Members.
Report of the 344th Meeting of the Finance Committee
Note on the progress of erection of War Cross and War Stones in cemeteries in Italy, and reference to discussion regarding using different types of headstones for cemeteries in Anzac Agency’s Area, with specific mention of Bourail.
Commission Headstone – New Zealand
Discussion regarding difference of policy between the New Zealand Government and the Commission in that the New Zealand Government had decided that, in the case of new cemeteries in New Zealand and at the option of the locality concerned, plaques set in the turf would be used instead of the Commission's traditional headstone for 1939-1945 war graves; reference to possible embarrassment to the Commission with regards this change in policy by one of its members and how this might weaken its position should other changes be proposed; comment that the change had been supported by the New Zealand Returned Services Association; and concluding with the agreement that the Commission’s view would be expressed by the New Zealand High Commissioner in London to his Government.
Maintenance of War Graves in the United Kingdom, 21st Quarterly Report
Note that the report had been compiled by the department staff in the absence of Colonel Murphy who was in Australia; comment on the help that was being given by Sir Arthur Longmore who was visiting cemeteries and churchyards in Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey, providing encouragement to the Regional Inspectors; and note of the list of cemetery sites in which very good horticultural work was being carried out by the Travelling Superintendent Gardeners.
Examination of Sketch Designs for Cemetery Construction
Examination and authorisation of sketch designs by Philip Hepworth, Principal Architect for North-West Europe, for Beny-sur-Mer Canadian Cemetery (with specific reference to design of ornamental pool) and Douvres (La Delivrande) British Cemetery. Also examination and authorisation of sketch design by Louis de Soissons, Principal Architect for Italy and Greece, of Gradara British Cemetery.
Post-War Burials in Palestine
Discussion regarding the Commission’s policy regarding the treatment of post-war burials in Palestine, following request received from Palestine Command that they should continue to be allowed to make burials in war cemeteries and war cemetery plots; with reference to the use of garrison cemeteries in the inter-war period and hope that these would again be used for post-war burials.
Major-General Sir Fabian Ware, K.C.V.O., K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., LL.D. (Vice-Chairman in the Chair)
J.P. Sigvaldason, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
V.C. Duffy, Esq. M.V.O. (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
C. Knowles, Esq., C.B.E. (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
D.V. Serrurier, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
W.B. England, Esq., M.B.E. (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
E. Simcock, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for Pakistan)
Colonel W.F. Rendell, C.B.E. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
General Sir Robert Gordon Finlayson, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith, V.C., K.C.B.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore, G.C.B., D.S.O.
Colonel the Rt. Hon. the Lord Wigram, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., C.S.I.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Hopkins, G.C.B.
Harold Neal, Esq., M.P.
Also in attendance
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Frederic Kenyon, G.B.E., K.C.B.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen, C.B.E. (Adviser on Post-War Organisation and Reconstruction)
Brigadier F. Higginson, C.M.G. (Secretary)
F C. Sillar, Esq., C.B.E. (Assistant Secretary, Finance)
Brigadier J.K. McNair, C.B.E.
E.J. King, Esq., M.C.
Major W.K.K. Kinnear (Acting Director of Records)
Major F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
P.R. Trevelyan Thomson, Esq.